By Darren Griffiths

A Guide to Wastwater in The Lake District, UK

25th March 2023

Wastwater is situated in the heart of the famous Wasdale Valley and is home to the deepest glacial lake in England. Wastwater is perhaps one of the most striking lakes in the Lake District, perhaps even the UK, and is surrounded by vast mountains including the Red and Scafell Pikes. The National Trust-owned Lake was named Britain’s favorite view, and it certainly doesn’t disappoint – you will be mesmerized by its mirror-like presence.   

If you’re looking for a relaxing couples’ getaway or an adrenaline-fueled adventure, the Lake District has a range of things to offer. With the vastness of the region, it can be difficult to choose a location to stay in. In this Wastwater guide, we discover the Wastwater region and all the breathtaking things the area has to offer.   

Related reading:
Not sure if Wastwater is for you? Take a look at the 8 best Lake District towns and villages to stay
Check out the ultimate list of things to do in the Lake District and the area’s most popular walks

Accessing Wastwater and Parking   

Due to Wastwater’s remote location, visitors can only access it through a single road just up from the Gosforth in West Cumbria. If you’re only visiting for the day, there are several parking options. The easiest option is the National Trust car park which allows you to pay for up to 24 hours, and it’s accessed through the National Trust campsite. Alternatively, there is parking in a tiny hamlet at Wasdale Head which is located on the north-eastern side of the lake, but this is a little less convenient.   

The Best Walking Trails in Wastwater  

wastwater walks

Wastwater Lake

The Lake District is known for having some of the best walking trails in all the UK, making it no surprise that Wastwater is home to some of the most spectacular walks with beautiful surrounding scenery. Without a doubt, the most famous route in the area is a walk up Scafell Pike through the Wastwater Wasdale Route. The walk is around 4.2 kilometers long, and it will take you between two and three hours. However, a walk to the Wasdale Head along the Moses Trod Path is a great alternative with picturesque scenery and far fewer crowds. Here, you can experience gushing waterfalls and take the quieter Corridor Route up to Scafell Pike.  

Alternatively, you have the eight-mile loop around the Wastwater lake itself which provides you with exceptional views of Scafell, Yewbarrow, and Great Gable from all sides of the lake.   

Other Activities to Do in Wastwater 

Being England’s deepest lake and one of the Lake District’s most striking views you’d think the lake would be crowded with boats and watersports.s. However, due to the remote location, it radiates peace and tranquillity. With restrictions in place for the number of boats allowed on the lake per day, you get a sense of having the lake to yourself. 

Tour companies provided a variety of watersports on the lake including stand-up paddleboarding, canoeing, and kayaking. So, if you’re looking for a sense of adventure or a way to keep the kids busy, this may be a perfect option when visiting Wastwater.  

Where to Stay in Wastwater?  

wastwater inn

The Strands Hotel, Screes Inn & Micro Brewery  

Located just a few minutes’ walk from the lake itself, this quaint and historic hotel is based in the perfect location when visiting Wastwater. The hotel is fitted with a variety of Victorian-style rooms perfect for all types of visitors from families to couples. The hotel also offers an on-site brewery where it brews its own caste ales and cooks traditional Cumbrian food. With the Lake District’s unpredictable weather, visiting the brewery is one of the best things to do in Wastwater when it rains.  


Windsor Cottages Scafell 

These cottages provide a luxurious experience for travelers to the area with a sleek and modern oak finish. Despite the interior of the cottages being faultless, the main attraction to the property is the access to the terrace which provides exceptional views of both the mountains and the lake itself.  


The Bridge Inn 

Despite not being within walking distance, the Bridge Inn provides a perfect gateway to Wastwater lake and is only a five to 10-minute drive away. The award-winning inn prides itself on having top-notch home-cooked food and beautifully decorated rooms. Guests describe the Bridge Inn as being in “the heart of nature” and that “you will see more sheep than people”. This makes it the perfect destination for nature lovers.  


Go Camping! 

A cheaper alternative to staying in a Hotel/Inn is to camp! There are two main options to do this – firstly, the primely located National Trust Camp Site or alternatively, the campsite at Wasdale Head (this is really convenient if you wanted to head to the pub to grab a meal or even a quick drink). 

More details about booking the national trust campsite can be found HERE  

Where to Eat in Wastwater?  

ritsons bar

Ritsons Bar

Wasdale Head Inn / Ritson’s Bar  

This world-famous pub is known as the birthplace of climbing and is located at the head of Wasdale, just a short walk from the lake. Its location provides perfect views of some of 

England’s tallest mountains. It is the perfect stop after a long day of stretching your legs, serving up a range of comfort food and locally brewed beverages. Despite there being pubs in the local area, this is the main one in close proximity of the lake.  

If you’re looking to venture out of the area, check out these restaurants nearby Wastwater.   

Have a picnic!

There are plenty of green spaces around the lake making a perfect picnic spot to sit back and relax. Beware – there isn’t much around, other than ice-cream vans and souvenir shops, so be prepared to pack plenty of food before you get to the lake if you don’t feel like sitting in one of the local pubs.   

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Here's your guide to Wastwater, the deepest lake in England. From what to see, eat and where to stay, this Wastwater guide has got everything you need.

Here's your guide to Wastwater, the deepest lake in England. From what to see, eat and where to stay, this Wastwater guide has got everything you need.